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Labour suspends Ivan Lewis MP over harassment claims

FORMER Labour minister Ivan Lewis was suspended yesterday by the party over allegations of sexual harassment.

The Bury South MP is under investigation by party officials after a number of women came forward with claims that he had made unwanted advances towards them.

A spokeswoman said: “The Labour Party takes all allegations of sexual harassment extremely seriously. Ivan Lewis is currently suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation.”

BuzzFeed News reported earlier this month that a woman had alleged that Mr Lewis  touched her leg and invited her to his house when she was 19 at a Labour Party event in 2010.

Four more women told the online media outlet that they had also been subjected to unwanted advances from Mr Lewis, who was a minister under Gordon Brown and served in Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet.

A fifth woman told the website that his behaviour was common knowledge among parliamentarians and “rarely challenged.”

A statement issued through his lawyers at the time said Mr Lewis had “never made non-consensual sexual comments or sexual advances to women.”

The suspension means that Mr Lewis will sit as an Independent MP in the House of Commons.

He is the latest MP to be investigated over claims of inappropriate behaviour in Westminster which also led to the suspension of Michael Fallon from his position as defence secretary earlier this month.

The flood of claims triggered by the scandal involving Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to launch a summit with other party leaders to discuss new parliamentary anti-harassment procedures.

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